Meeting as the Barton County Board of Health, county commissioners Monday morning accepted the resignation of Dr. Stanley Hatesohl as the county’s health consultant. Next, they appointed Dr. Jonathan Pike to fill the vacancy.
Hatesohl was named to the post on March 16 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he has retired and moved from Kansas, said county Health Director Karen Winkelman. “During his tenure, he has successfully provided a vital community service.”
Hatesohl advised the county of his resignation via email. “It has been a pleasure working with Karen Winkelman and the county during these challenging times,” he said.
Winkelman, the former Health Department public health nurse supervisor and deputy local health officer, was tapped as public health director and local health officer July 2. She was made interim director and health officer in March following the resignation of Shelly Schneider.
However, according to Kansas statutes, if a health officer is not a licensed physician, a county must name a medical consultant who is a doctor, Winkelman said. This role was filled by Hatesohl, and now by Pike.
The job, which involves advising the Health Board and Winkelman, pays $325 per month.
“Thank you for allowing me to serve in this capacity,” Pike said. The last several months have been “perilous times.”
“We don’t have enough information,” he said. “The county is doing its best to gather this information.”
He agrees with the county’s approach to adhere to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment guidelines. “But, COVID doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are other factors.”
Deviation from KDHE and Centers for Disease and Control guidelines can’t be taken lightly, he said. However, there are other needs, such as those of businesses and schools, that must be considered,
“Thank you for jumping into the fire,” Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. “I look forward to working together to find the best solution for our communities.”